Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and Nippon Professional Baseball reportedly reached a tentative agreement Tuesday on a new posting system that will allow two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani to play stateside in 2018.
According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, previous posting rules—which dictate MLB teams can pay NPB clubs a maximum fee of $20 million—will continue to apply this offseason before a new arrangement kicks in after the 2018 campaign.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman broke down the details of the new posting terms:
Joel Sherman @Joelsherman1
1/just to clarify my confusing tweet from earlier: Beginning next offseason if Japanse player signs a major league contract, a Japanese team will receive 20 percent of the total of the contract plus all earned bonuses, buyouts on unexercised options and full amount of option yrs
Sherman added the agreement must be ratified by MLB owners next Friday in order for Ohtani to officially be posted by the Nippon-Ham Fighters.
Assuming the new deal is pushed through, Sherman reported Ohtani will have 21 days to sign once he's posted.
Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network predicted Wednesday that Ohtani will have signed with a team "somewhere by Christmas time."
But because Ohtani isn't yet 25 years old and is still defined as an international amateur, according to MLB's collective bargaining agreement, he'll be restricted to signing a minor league contract that's accompanied by a signing bonus from his future employer's international bonus pool.
According to the Associated Press, the Texas Rangers can offer Ohtani the maximum of $3.5 million, while the New York Yankees can offer $3.25 million and the Minnesota Twins can dangle $3.24 million.
Only three other clubs—the Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners—can offer upward of $1 million.
As things stand, the Yankees are reportedly considered the front-runners to land the 23-year-old.
"The Yankees are the favorite, there's no other way to look at it," a National League executive told FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.
Hideki Matsui, who came over to the Yankees from Japan in December 2002, told MLB.com's Deesha Thosar through a translator Saturday he would be happy to help the team in its recruitment of Ohtani if asked.
"If that's something he wants to do and the team wants it, then why not?" he said. "If he's allowed to come here and the Yankees are interested, then I expect to be involved in that process as maybe trying to convince him or recruit him to the Yankees."